Royal Tudor blood ran in her veins. Her mother was a queen, her father an earl, and she herself was the granddaughter, niece, cousin, and grandmother of monarchs. Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was an important figure in Tudor England, yet today, while her contemporaries—Anne Boleyn, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I—have achieved celebrity status, she is largely forgotten.
Margaret’s life was steeped in intrigue, drama, and tragedy—from her auspicious birth in 1515 to her parents’ bitter divorce, from her ill-fated love affairs to her appointment as lady-in-waiting for four of Henry’s six wives. In an age when women were expected to stay out of the political arena, alluring and tempestuous Margaret helped orchestrate one of the most notorious marriages of the sixteenth century: that of her son Lord Darnley to Mary, Queen of Scots. Margaret defiantly warred with two queens—Mary, and Elizabeth of England—and was instrumental in securing the Stuart ascension to the throne of England for her grandson, James VI.
The life of Margaret Douglas spans five reigns and provides many missing links between the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. Drawing on decades of research and myriad original sources—including many of Margaret’s surviving letters—Alison Weir brings this captivating character out of the shadows and presents a strong, capable woman who operated effectively and fearlessly at the very highest levels of power.
I have written about Margaret Douglas before as you will be able to read in my review of “The Other Tudor Princess” by Mary McGrigor and “The Forgotten Tudor Women” by Sylvia Barbara Soberton and it appears that Margaret Douglas has made quite a name for herself recently. Alison Weir’s book is twice the size the other two books and it is clear that she has spent a lot of time on research. The writing style is pleasant, which I think can be attributed to the fact that Alison Weir also writes novels. It reads like a novel, but a historically and factually correct one. I think I enjoyed it more than Mary McGrigor book, though that one is a bit easier to get through if you’re not that familiar yet with the period.
It’s a great book to read and certainly manages to delve into Margaret’s history and legacy. “The Other Tudor Princess” by Alison Weir is by far the superior book on Margaret Douglas. It is available now in the UK and the US.